Gereatric Decisions for Parental Care

It’s that season of my life where caring for a parent becomes tougher and tougher.  As health deteriorates the family is facing tough decisions.  How can I care for my parent?  At what point is it too much to handle?  How do you talk about the subject calmly without too much intense emotion?  How do you respect your parents dignity & finances while working through all this?

Tough decisions to make and they all carry emotions, sadness at times, and uneasy feelings.  Here’s what I did today on the phone with my father before I told him I would be coming for a visit.  Let me just say first that my father is still sharp mentally.  He knows what going on and is still capable of understanding.  Physically he’s having trouble walking, standing up and moving because of an L4 compression fracture in his spine.

Dad, I said, the purpose of my visit is to see you and spend time with you for the holidays.  Secondly, I want to help my two brothers a little by allowing them to get out for an hour or two.  Finally, I asked him for permission to review all his paper work, insurance papers and talk about a next step should the need arise.  After 80 years of self reliance it’s really hard for him to trust his care to anyone but himself. I think I would be that way too.  It went well.

Now I don’t have to walk in there on eggshells and figure out how to bring the subject up for discussion.  I set the table, made the bed, and prepared his heart and mind for that discussion.  Prayerfully it’ll go well.

What do you do to handle your aging parents?  I’m especially interested in how you handle them if they are mentally all there.  Let me know.

Happy New Year!